Cruising with dolphins

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It’s a great day out for community buzurgs

Commmunity seniors were off on another one of their jaunts last month. This time it was a cruise on the Port River generously funded by IAASA. Our ship was the Adelaide built mv Dolphin Explorer, a 38m long vessel with a 2m draught launched on Australia Day 2005. More to the point, it is a friendly vessel with two separate function decks and a covered observation deck for those wishing to sit in the fresh air.

Cruises depart from Queen’s Wharf in historic Port Adelaide. The Port was once a busy, working area for shipping cargo and even landing new immigrants arriving in Adelaide. Now it is more geared for the tourist trade with some commercial shipping. The historic buildings such as the Customs House, warehouses and museums give the area an interesting backdrop for all the eateries and craft shops that abound there now.

Far too often seniors’ meetings are sit-down affairs held in community halls. It’s just as important for the elderly to get out and about and to do something different. To borrow from an old proverb, a change of scene is often as good as a holiday and helps break up the daily routine. The main purpose of this cruise then was for our group to have a few active hours in the fresh air on the river. With a lunch thrown in, bars to hand, and the possibility of sighting dolphins, it was going to be a great trip on a perfect autumn day.

After gathering near the wharf our group of nearly 50 strong was ready to go aboard to find their seats.

As the boat left its moorings and glided away to join the main flow of the river, it was the time to sit back, relax and take in the view. It was close to lunchtime and our group soon settled in anticipation of the meal. Later, there was almost unanimous agreement that the food served had been exceptionally good even for the large number of vegetarians in the group.

The Port River is well known for its wild dolphins. It didn’t take long for an announcement of sightings of dolphins near the boat. As everyone rushed to the railings it was quite a sight to see several dolphins skimming right alongside the boat within touching distance. Dolphins could also be seen cavorting around playfully a little further away.

All along the river banks were remnants of past commercial activity. Somewhat derelict now are the remains of industrial businesses, ship yards and other supporting workshops. There were a few larger cargo vessels tied up on the banks as occasionally some venture into port to collect grain and to deliver cargo. No sooner had we left industry behind and were in prettier surroundings when we had to start heading back.

Fresh air, good food and enjoyable company – now time for an afternoon nap.